Child Welfare Across Canada

Child welfare services fall under the mandate of provincial and territorial governments, including a rapidly expanding system of Aboriginal child welfare authorities. This section contains material related to federal initiatives concerned with child welfare services as well as statistics compiled at the national level.

All Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect reports can be found here

National - Statistics

Child Maltreatment Investigations in Canada, 1998 and 2008*

  1998 2008
Child population 6,301,295 6,022,005
Number of child maltreatment investigations 134,566 235,842
Incidence of child maltreatment investigations per 1,000 children 21.36 39.16


Type of Child Maltreatment Investigation in Canada, 2008*

  Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Maltreatment Investigation 174,411 28.97 74%
Risk Investigation 61,431 10.19 26%


Primary Categories of Substantiated Child Maltreatment Investigations in Canada, 2008*

Category of Maltreatment Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Physical Abuse 17,212 2.86 20%
Sexual Abuse 2,607 0.43 3%
Neglect 28,939 4.81 34%
Emotional Maltreatment 7,423 1.23 9%
Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence 29,259 4.86 34%


Placement in Child Maltreatment Investigations in 1998 and in Child Maltrement and Risk Investigations in Canada in 2008*

  1998 Number 1998 Rate 2008 Number 2008 Rate
Informal Kinship Care 5,851 0.93 8,713 1.45
Formal Placement 11,003 1.74 10,886 1.81


Public Health Agency of Canada. (2010). Canadian incidence study of reported child abuse and neglect 2008: Major findings (p. 122). Public Health Agency of Canada. Retrieved from http://cwrp.ca/publications/2117

Titlesort icon Authors Year Type
A comparison of First Nations and non-Aboriginal children investigated for maltreatment in Canada in 2003

MacLaurin, Bruce
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
Blackstock, Cindy
Pitman, Lisa
McCormack, Megan

2011 Information sheet
A Profile of Child Welfare Workers in Canada in 2008

Lwin, Kristen
Lefebvre, Rachael
Fallon, Barbara
Trocmé, Nico

2015 Information sheet
A Profile of Investigations with a Noted Child Functioning Concern of FAS/FAE in Canada in 2008

Goodman, Deborah
Lefebvre, Rachael
Fallon, Barbara
Trocmé, Nico

2015 Information sheet
A profile of reported emotional maltreatment in Canada in 2008

Kozlowski, Anna
Lwin, Kristin
Fallon, Barbara

2014 Information sheet
Aboriginal Children. Canada must do better: Today and tomorrow. Special report submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates

2011 Report
Aboriginal Peoples Survey 2001 - non-reserve Aboriginal Population initial findings: Well-being of the non-reserve Aboriginal Population

O'Donnell, Vivian
Tait, Heather

2003 Report
Adoption Protections for Indigenous Children in Canada

Hahn, Hayley
Sinha, Vandna

2018 Information sheet
An overview of differential response models

Trocmé, Nico
Knott, Theresa
Knoke, Della

2003 Information sheet
Are we doing enough? A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health, 2009 edition

Canadian Paediatric Society

2009 Report
Are we doing enough? A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health, 2012 edition

Canadian Paediatric Society

2012 Report

National - Legislation

Child welfare services fall under the jurisdiction of provincial and territorial authorities as a result each province and territory has different legislation pertaining to child protection interventions. For more information click here.

The only child welfare regulations and legislation that apply to all provinces and territories are the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development First Nations Child and Family Services National Program Manual and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child: